Last Friday was the last day of the EAHIL 2016 conference in beautiful Seville. Karen and Tuulevi presented in session I – Cooperation, chaired by Tiina Heino, as the last of seven papers. It was a good experience and we felt we could communicate some of our team spirit, too, not only tools, methods and findings.
The presentation is titled How to work together on an international project? Experiences from a benchmarking project of three European health libraries and the full text is available at the conference website as both page and pdf.
In EAHIL 2016 Flickr there are some photos of us presenting:
In Twitter search #eahil2016 to find all the tweets about the excellent conference.
The conference was of course much more than presenting our paper. As EAHIL Board members we had lots of meetings. As delegates, we listened to many thought-provoking presentations and saw rows of interesting posters. Most importantly we could exchange thoughts and ideas with colleagues we already know but also expand our networks with new ones.
We are very happy for the opportunity to present our project for EAHIL colleagues in Seville – last year some of them participated in a focus group and helped us to move on.
Online meeting in Google Hangouts. Working on presentation slides.
When we wrote the abstract, we had to decide what we wanted to present. We chose to focus on working together and using our project as an example. Luckily our paper was accepted. We started working on the paper. We did not divide the paper between us in order for each to write a part on their own but worked collaboratively on the whole document.
We assumed this would not be easy so, fortunately, we could use a day together in Brussels (after the Board meeting) to plan the process and to draft the paper. It was very useful to have some time together to kick-start the writing process.
Since then we worked online together and between the online meetings each of us filled in the text, commented on text, made corrections, added new ideas, and photos, etc. We had about two hangouts per month in which we edited the text together. As English is not the first language for any of us we had to find someone to proofread our text and got help from Ghislaine’s uncle who was happy to give a hand.
Tuulevi’s two screens. Presentation on the left shared to others in Hangouts.
Collaborative writing. Karen in the big picture.
After the full text of the paper was sent to the conference organizers we started working on our presentation that will take place on Friday in parallel session I Cooperation. We started out with the text from the paper but ended with a quite different structure. When preparing the slides we used the same method as for the paper: collaborative writing, working between meetings and online meetings to agree on content and shape.
As Ghislaine will not be able to travel to Seville, Tuulevi and Karen will present, but we are all together responsible for the presentation. Today we are working on the notes, next week we will practise online.
Our challenges — as always — have been finding the time for the online meetings as well as to work on this in between.
Our advice for this kind of collaborative online writing:
- Have enough time – start early!
- Allocate time also for between-meetings-work.
- Meet on a regular basis, every 7 or 14 days: when meetings are too far from each other, procrastination threats!
- It helps, if you team spirit is as great as ours.
Working together is fun!
Last week we had a chance to meet face-to-face in Brussels and to work on two things:
- On choosing the indicators to be able to compare our services and their impact. Choosing indicators is not easy but we managed to agree on three ISO indicators. We will write more about them later.
- On our paper, titled How to work together on an international project? Experiences from a benchmarking project of three European health libraries, that has been accepted to the scientific programme of the EAHIL 2016 in Seville, Spain, in June. We will present it in Parallel Session I Cooperation on Friday 10th June.
In addition to online meetings, that we have regularly, and sharing and writing documents in Dropbox, as well as collaborative blog posting from three different locations, we consider the possibility to meet in person every now and then necessary for effective and productive project work. This time we had a full day after another meeting we all attended.
A Finn needing local support in using a Belgian keyboard.